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RealTime IT News

Outsourcing Solomon

Microsoft will offload maintenance of Microsoft Business Solutions' Solomon line of software to that company's original executives.

The Redmond, Wash., software giant is closing the Findlay, Ohio, office that, for the most part, is devoted to the Solomon product line, the company acknowledged Thursday. Great Plains Software acquired Solomon in 2000, just before it was itself acquired by Microsoft and rolled into the Business Solutions division.

At the same time, Microsoft has signed a letter of intent to contract with Findlay-based Plumbline Software to maintain Solomon. Solomon Software co-founders Jack Ridge, Gary Harpst, and Vernon Strong announced the formation of Plumbline on Thursday.

"This is a sign to me that Solomon is no longer core enough to Microsoft that they want to invest in updating it," said Directions on Microsoft analyst Matt Rosoff.

"Solomon is project accounting, and I suspect a lot of that will go into Great Plains." Microsoft has committed to supporting Solomon customers through 2013, Rosoff said. "I suspect most of the advances will be on the Great Plains side now," he said.

Plumbline won't put all its eggs in Solomon's basket, however. The new company plans to work with resellers to integrate and customize Microsoft Business Solutions Business Portal offerings. It will also help Microsoft customers move to the .NET architecture.

Approximately 108 employees out of the 177 based in Microsoft's Findlay office will be laid off; a Microsoft spokesperson said that as many as 70 may find work with Plumbline.

This is a cost-cutting measure for Microsoft, Rosoff said.

"They have four product lines plus software they've developed internally or gained through other acquisitions," Rosoff said. "They need to streamline and get costs down. They looked at what was selling and what wasn't, and this looked like the obvious thing to go."